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Underground Downspouts: Worth The Investment?

Underground downspouts redirect rainwater away from your basement and foundation - but do you need to invest in them?


When it rains, it pours – and that puts your basement at risk. The good news is that there are plenty of waterproofing solutions available to North Carolina residents that are designed to combat spring rains and keep your home dry.

Underground downspouts are simpler waterproofing solutions that readily stack with some of the others that local contractors may make available to you. What do they do, though, and are they worth your financial investment?

Underground Downspouts: The Basics

Underground downspouts are exactly what they sound like: downspouts that professional basement and foundation repair contractors will install under your lawn to protect your home from water damage. These downspouts frequently pair with French drains to keep water from re-entering your home after it’s been redistributed out into your lawn or local sewer system.

The Benefits of Installing Underground Downspouts

If you have a large lawn or are worried about the overall upkeep of your landscaping, underground downspouts make ideal and simple waterproofing solutions. These downspouts will be out of sight all year round, making it easier for you to mow the lawn or host events at your home. They’ll also work overtime to keep water from damaging your basement and foundation, directing water out into your lawn, the street, or into the local sewer system.

However, underground downspouts work best in homes that deal with minor to medium flooding on a yearly basis. If you experience heavier moisture and leaks during the spring and fall in North Carolina, you may want to consider stacking your underground downspouts with additional waterproofing solutions. Some of the best local contractors have at their disposal include:

sump pump and other waterproofing solutions
  • Interior drainage
  • Sump pump
  • Dehumidifier
  • Waterproof insulation
  • Vapor barrier

You can always reach out for a free inspection and quote to see which of these solutions – and which combinations – will serve your home best.

The Installation Process

Once you’ve decided to commit to underground downspouts along with another essential repair, it’s time to think about installation. The good news is that the installation process should only take the professionals in the Winston-Salem, NC, area a day or two to complete. The process typically involves the following steps:

waterproofing solutions
  1. Laying the trench, or determining where your underground downspouts are going to run through your lawn
  2. Marking the trench line
  3. Digging the trench
  4. Inputting thick polyethylene pipe or pipe of an equally supportive waterproof material
  5. Installing a starter elbow near your home
  6. Inserting adapters and reducers where applicable
  7. Connecting your downspouts
  8. Directing the flow of water out towards your street or local sewer system
  9. Backfilling the trenches until the pipes are no longer visible

When and How to Unclog Underground Downspouts

Basement and foundation leaks are annoying enough to deal with on their own, but they’re much more annoying to deal with than an underground downspout leak. It is possible that your downspouts may start to leak if the rain in your area has been especially heavy. The good news is that your pipes will let you know when it’s time to clean them out.

You’ll know it’s time to clean your downspouts when you have the following:

  • Excessive moisture in your home
  • Overfull gutters
  • Pooling water around the trench lines where your pipes are buried

It’s never fun cleaning out your underground downspouts. However, like any other chore, you’re going to need to do so if you want your home to stay neat and dry. The process is relatively straightforward – you can either do it yourself or reach out for professional help, should a blockage arise.

To clean your underground downspouts, you’ll need to:

  1. Release the underground drain.
  2. Insert a plumber’s auger, or a snake, into your downspouts.
  3. Twist clockwise until you come in contact with the blockage.
  4. Pull the blockage back toward you.
  5. Clean out your gutters with a garden hose to ensure water flows smoothly through the pipes.
crew installing downspouts

Calling in the Professionals

In the era of DIY, it’s tempting to take on the challenge of downspout installation on your own time. After all, won’t installing your own underground downspouts save you money?

Not necessarily. A lot of the myths surrounding basement and foundation waterproofing make it seem like the process is unnecessarily expensive. However, you may not know all the ins and outs of the installation, so it’s possible to miss a step or two. If the job isn’t installed correctly, you could easily cost yourself more money if you try to waterproof your home without professional guidance.

The foundation and basement repair contractors in Winston-Salem, NC, have years of experience under their belts. They can bring that experience into your home to ensure that your basement stays as dry as possible all year round. If you’re worried about saving money, you can always take advantage of the contractors’ free inspections, after which you can discuss which waterproofing solutions might be the most affordable.

Above all else, don’t wait to waterproof your home – or to install underground downspouts – if you suspect your basement may flood this spring. The sooner you act, the more money and stress you’ll save yourself.

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